Despite winning the 2011 ECCB/OECS U-23 Netball tournament last week, the management of the local team has expressed concerns regarding the quality of officiating that was witnessed during the final match between St. Kitts and Grenada.
When asked about any disappointments during the match, team manager, Gillian Musgrave-Archibald said she was very, very, very much disappointed with the officiating.
Though Musgrave-Archibald did not elaborate, she was obviously referring to the many calls that were made against the St. Kitts team. Given the response of the massive crowd during such calls, they too felt that the local team was not being fairly treated and that some of the decisions of the referee were poorly administered.
At one point the match had to be halted, as efforts were made to calm the crowd. Though no major incidents took place and the safety of players and officials was never at risk, there was much disappointment being shouted across the netball stands, expressing disgust about some of the decisions of the referee.
This however said Musgrave-Archibald did not prevent her team from putting on a fantastic display, with the players rising to the occasion, doing what they were required to do; doing it their way.
The manager said that all of the girls performed at the highest levels but she also had special commendations for Talissa Brown and Kerish Richardson and Nicky Tyson…those three she said did us proud.
Meantime, coach of the squad, Avonelle Julien said that despite all the odds against the team, St. Kitts showed a lot of courage. They stood to the task and game plan, said the coach, and this was so regardless of the many adversities and the pressures placed on them.
The coach said that the team always knew that Grenada was not going to hand the championship to them on a silver platter so they expected a tough fight. They came expecting a fair contest, so they came prepared for the challenge.
She too expressed some disappointment in certain aspects of the game but said that she was pleased that in the end everything worked out in the best interest of the host team.
The coach also praised her entire squad for the outstanding performance but like the manager, she also had good words for the defense, (which was the best in the tournament, as was the offense). She said that Talissa Brown, the Vice captain led from in front, while Kerish Richardson the Center and Wing Defense also played a courageous game and should be commended for that kind of performance. High praise also went to Ronelle Morton who was declared the Most Accurate Shooter of the tournament.
The game ended 40-40. St. Kitts however was the only unbeaten team in the tournament, given that Grenada lost to St. Vincent and St. Kitts defeated the “Vincy” girls earlier in the week.
St. Kitts previously won the title in 2009, but lost it to Grenada last year, (2010).